Baldwin Park School District employee arraigned for workers’ compensation fraud after COVID-19 diagnosis
News: 2021 Press Release
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Stephanie Medrano, 33, of West Covina, was arraigned today on multiple counts of grand theft and insurance fraud after allegedly making misrepresentations following a COVID-19 diagnosis to collect undeserved workers’ compensation insurance benefits.
The California Department of Insurance launched an investigation after receiving a claim of suspected fraud from Medrano’s employer, the Baldwin Park Unified School District, on August 21, 2020. The investigation revealed Medrano made multiple misrepresentations in order to extend a workers’ compensation insurance claim submitted to her employer after she was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Medrano was reportedly exposed to COVID-19 while in the workplace and subsequently filed a workers’ compensation claim. She told her employer that she self-quarantined from July 6, 2020 to August 3, 2020, and reported she only left her house twice to buy medicine for her mother and sister, who were also diagnosed with COVID-19. Medrano reported her symptoms related to the COVID-19 diagnosis were so severe she was unable to work.
The investigation found that during the time Medrano claimed she was self-quarantining, she was seen shopping at multiple stores for several hours a day and interacting with people from outside her immediate household without face masks. Further, investigators uncovered that Medrano traveled to Lake Havasu with people who live outside her household just two days after she reported she was still experiencing symptoms to the doctor overseeing her claim.
Medrano’s false statements regarding her symptoms and need for extended self-quarantine resulted in a $33,516 loss to the school district.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case.
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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $340 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.